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Lost summer: Many day, residential camps closed

June 17, 2020 GMT
A medical worker prepares to administer a COVID-19 virus test at a drive-thru care testing site at the Derry Medical Center on Wednesday, June 17, 2020 in Derry, New Hampshire. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)
A medical worker prepares to administer a COVID-19 virus test at a drive-thru care testing site at the Derry Medical Center on Wednesday, June 17, 2020 in Derry, New Hampshire. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)
A medical worker prepares to administer a COVID-19 virus test at a drive-thru care testing site at the Derry Medical Center on Wednesday, June 17, 2020 in Derry, New Hampshire. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — As summer is about to begin, nearly half of the licensed day camps in New Hampshire have closed because of the coronavirus, and only six residential camps are still trying to open, the president of the state camp directors association said Wednesday.

State safety guidelines that came out recently for the camps to run are “extraordinarily challenging,” Ken Robbins told a group of legislators gathering input for the Governor’s Office for Emergency Relief and Recovery. For some camps, it would’ve meant changing the nature of their program; for others, it meant dealing with the costs of screening and testing campers, modifying buildings, and increasing health care staff.

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“The cost of opening for the summer, in some cases, actually exceeds the cost of staying closed, and for some, to the point of being unfeasible,” he said.

A quick survey shows that camps will see more than an 80% drop in gross revenue over 2019 numbers. Even closed, the camps still face a number of fixed costs, such as property taxes, insurance, and maintenance, Robbins said. He said 17% of the camps that responded to the survey said they are either likely or somewhat likely not to be able to reopen next summer.

“We know that getting to 2021 is going to be a serious challenge for all camps,” Robbins said, seeking help in the form of grants or other assistance to get ready for next summer.

Other coronavirus-related developments in New Hampshire:

SEAFOOD FESTIVAL CANCELED

The Hampton Beach Seafood Festival, which has drawn over 100,000 visitors during the three-day event in September, won’t happpen this year because of the coronavirus, organizers said Wednesday.

The Hampton Area Chamber of Commerce said it reached its decision after speaking with volunteers, vendors, state and local officials.

“As much as we would love to continue our tradition, we just don’t feel the environment would be right and we just do not know if the state of affairs will return to normal by festival time,” the chamber said in a news release.

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WEIRS BEACH

Only 400 people will be allowed on Weirs Beach at any one time, less than 20% of its capacity of 2,200 people, the Laconia Parks and Recreation Commission voted.

The Laconia Daily Sun reports the decision came Monday for the 450-foot-long beach, in compliance with social distancing guidelines.

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The beach opens on June 27.

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THE NUMBERS

As of Wednesday, 5,436 people in New Hampshire had tested positive for the virus, an increase of 73. Four deaths were announced, for a total of 330.

For most people, the virus causes mild or moderate symptoms. For some, especially older adults and the infirm, it can cause more severe illness and can lead to death.